Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #316, Theme: Open

So this one seemed tough at first, but it was only after I had completed my entire draft that I thought of open marriage, open house, open book, open letter, open-ended question, etc.  However, I was very pleased with what I came up with, and I might still write another on the same theme.  A first for me!


Eyes Wide Open

I pass the mirror without even looking,
for I know I haven’t changed:
black hair, blue eyes,
both a little grayer, I am sure.
I need not see to know who I am.

I find my way to the kitchen,
where everything is just so-so.
I cannot function if it is not.
Those that believe I am OCD,
do not know me.
My house is orderly,
so that my life may be,
for I am not The Finder of Lost Things;
after all, I lost my sense.

Night is nigh,
but I fear it not.
The dark is familiar to me,
like a friend almost.
They say one picture is worth 1000 words—
but words paint a picture for me.

I hear rain patter my roof;
I press my hand to the glass
and feel the raindrops,
leaving a trail like a snail,
or is it my imagination?
Do memories fill in the blanks
of what I no longer know?
Have my senses become in sync
with the synchrony and cacophony of Nature?

I walk outside and stand on my porch,
feeling the thunder rumble in my core,
tasting the chemicals in the rain,
smelling the honeysuckle from Mrs. O’Brien’s porch plot.
I’ve known her for twenty years,
and she hasn’t changed—
at least to me.
Everything is as wonderful as I remember it.

I feel the mist freckle my warm cheeks,
the smell of burnt fudge lingers in the air,
pregnant with that pause before the storm;
Katie Gray is cooking again—
I can almost taste the charred chocolate.
Just a step from the air-conditioned house,
to the sauna outside,
is like a sensory overload.
Simple things have become magnified.

I slip off my flip-flops—
a funny word that is,
like bellybutton and elbow.
The soft rain on the rough concrete
is an interesting juxtaposition,
for one is unyielding,
the other is not.

I hear the wooden windchimes next door,
clanging like the sound of someone clucking their tongue.
The thunder is like horses in Heaven having a race,
the lighting like chariots of fire,
like feathers brushing across my face.
The rain is like the sprinklers that go off next door,
or Missy Hanley’s dog shaking himself off after a bath.
The whole of Summer,
encapsulated in droplets.

I bend to my roses,
to nuzzle my nose in their centers,
rubbing their petals between my fingers,
petals that are like the skin of a gracefully-aging woman.
The dirt beneath is like cake crumbs.
I touch my face,
not realizing I am dirtying it,
and in my own mind,
I have never aged.
I saw myself once for the last time,
a long time ago,
and, like Marilyn Monroe,
I am forever young in my own mind,
if not the eyes of others.

A part of me died after that last time I saw myself,
and a new Tabitha Fenmore was born—
I no longer saw things as they really were,
but I heard, it seemed,
for the very first time.

I now hear the light—
a twinkle in someone’s voice,

The light is something I feel—
the warm sunshine,
my husband’s hands,
whose scars I cannot see,
the tongue of Mr. Baker’s dog on my hand.

The light is something I taste—
a warm peach in summertime,
a frosted glass of lemonade,
the ice tinkling the sides like a windchime.

The light is something I smell—
a new baby after a bath,
mint leaves that have been chopped finely,
and fresh cut grass after a rain.

The light is something I touch—
cotton and see-through lace,
fresh sketch paper from the art store,
and the gold of my wedding band.

It is when sleep comes that see I periwinkle—
the color that divides day from night,
the color of lavender and blue,
the color of twilight.
I am told that my art is extraordinary;
I use scented paints to tell the red from the blue,
the intensity of the scent a way to tell dark from light.

The silver lining of this cloud of blindness,
this velvet darkness,
is that I never will see ugliness.
Because of that,
I can live without fear:


Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #315, Theme: Alert


I am alert.
French roast,
brewed to perfection—
is my ultra-sensory experience.
A splash of cream,
a dash of sugar,
frozen coffee cubes,
topped with a mound of hazelnut whipped cream…
like an island floating atop a mocha sea.
The ice in the cup shift like little bergs.
The first sip is always the best,
the last, the saddest—
like the beach after the rain on a gray day.

Coffee is like Candyland for grown-ups,
a Fantasia for java fanatics,
a jubilee for joe aficionados.
Caffeine and chocolate,
with a spoonful of sweetness,
be it sugar or agave—
is my drug of choice.
Composed by alchemists called baristas,
this bewitching brew heightens our senses,
contributing to that euphoric state
known as “wakey-wakey.”

A warm brownie,
dense and moist,
is the manna that completes
my morning sacrament—
good to the last drop.
My day begins.
I am alert.


Networking for Introverts: Breaking the Ice

Since this post got the most likes (or any likes, for that matter) on LinkedIn, I will share it with you today.

The Internet has been a blessing for introverts like myself. Speaking from personal experience, the Internet has changed the way I’ve communicated tremendously. I’ve made many friends first through Facebook (through friends of friends and local political groups), some of whom I’ve met in person. I’ve found that the awkwardness of “first dates” is dissolved when two people have chatted online prior. I’ve met wonderful, like-minded individuals through Facebook from around the country I would have otherwise never known.

Gina, a woman whom I met through a political candidate group she founded, was also a member of a local writing group here in Pensacola (https://writeonpensacola.wordpress.com/), which led me to meeting one of my closer friends, not to mention connecting with other writers and artists who’ve been a wellspring of information on how to promote myself and my work, and instilled within me encouragement–a powerful motivator. Gina also recommended me as a committee member for the Gulf Coast Kid’s House, for which I wrote a couple of articles.  (As of November 2016, I am the volunteer writer and designer of the online newsletter for the Panhandle Warrior Partnership:  http://www.panhandlewarriors.org/).

I’ve used our WriteOn! Pensacola Facebook page to share information with members on publications, contests, conferences, and more. It’s easier for an introvert to have a voice online than it is in person, especially being a writer, because I like to edit my thoughts before submitting them. If I always spoke my mind, I’d be in trouble all the time. (I get in enough trouble sharing certain things on Facebook.)  I prefer written communication over the oral (with the exception of facetime), as I don’t have to have a mobile device on my person at all times (no one but my family has access to me 24/7, and should not expect to). I can drop a chat on Facebook and pick up where I’ve left off at a later time, which I could never do on the telephone.

LinkedIn has given me a platform to showcase my writing ability to possible future employers. I always list my online presences on my resume, including my WordPress blog. Now that I also write for the student newspaper, I will be adding my online portfolio.

The Internet has made communication, and life in general, less anxious for wallflowers like me, giving us a chance to “break the ice” first.

*scholarship essay for sonomacountysatellite.com, edited 06 Dec 2016


100-word pitch to Harlequin’s “So You Think You Can Write” contest

rose and veil

Brian Schlaes and Sarah Lawson want a child.  Sarah believes had they met ten years earlier, even though both were very different people, they would have grown together and become what they were supposed to become.  They get an opportunity to “start over”, to gain nine years of extra memories at the expense of one.  With the help of an angel who calls herself Aphrodite, they will be placed in the same place at the same time, nine years prior.  They risk everything for the chance to fall in love a second time, but will others get in the way?

Great Sources for Children’s Songs


Singing has always been one of my favorite things to do in the car (when I’m not listening to talk radio) and in church; so naturally, when I had a child, I wanted to sing to her, but not always old country tunes or church hymns (though we do the latter on Sunday night after I read to her from the children’s Bible).  I loved “Wee Sing” as a kid, because kids sang the songs, and the lyrics and melodies were easy to remember.  Whenever my family watched the Olympics, I loved listening to the different anthems, and chorus was one of my favorite classes in high school (even though the teacher asked me to please lip sync during performances).  When I was a little girl, “Meet Me in St. Louis” and “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” were two of my favorite movies, and part of that was because of the music.  Some movies like “Pocahontas” and “Rent” were only good for their singles.  Music in movies is like poetry in motion (pardon the cliché), and I’ve found many greats in the motion pictures.  How different would “The Graduate” have been without that awesome soundtrack?

There is just something about music that stirs the soul, and though I am hardly musically inclined (a sheet of music is like an unreadable map to me), I love it, and I wanted to instill in my daughter a love for it, too (it might even help her in math later, so I’ve heard).

  1. “The Wee Cooper of Fife” (the song the children in the schoolhouse are singing in “The Birds”).
  2. “Tammy” (from “Tammy and the Bachelor”, with Debbie Reynolds; though I would say this song is more appropriate for a little girl).
  3. “Early One Morning” (the first couple of lines of this song were sung by Pollyanna and Nancy when they were delivering calves foot jelly to the poor, but those two lines stuck with me and I googled the song), finding this wonderful link so I could hear the entire melody (I had to go to a separate site to find the lyrics):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OAyS8OK9J4
  4. “Que Sera Sera” (the classic Doris Day song, from “The Man Who Knew Too Much”).  This is a very sweet song.  The refrain of “Skedaddle Skidoo” (also sung by Doris Day in “The Tunnel of Love”) is cute, too.
  5. “Popcorn Popping” was a song I learned when I served a calling in the nursery when I was LDS.  It’s great because it has fingerplays to accompany the words.
  6. In the 1944 WWII film, “Since You Went Away”, two young lovebirds are walking through a farm, singing, “Oh, my darling Clementine”.  When I looked up the actual “campfire” song, I was surprised at some of the lyrics, but from Mother Goose (like the “Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe” who whipped her children, which is considered child abuse today) to Stephen Foster (whose songs are just all in fun and were written in a very different time), you’re going to run into some objectionable words and phrases.
  7. HooplaKidz on YouTube is great (and free).
  8. The soundtrack from “The Sound of Music”.  My parents bought my daughter a xylophone, and it’s great for demonstrating “Do Re Mi”.  I often love to incorporate many of Hannah’s “favorite things” (Oprah and Maria von Trapp aren’t the only ones!) into the song.
  9. Christmas songs!  “Away in a Manger” is like a lullaby.  I like both the secular and the religious, though I only sing the secular at Christmastime.  (Christmas is in December; Jesus is for all seasons.)
  10. http://www.theteachersguide.com/ChildrensSongs.htm.  Great site for lyrics, but I have to go to YouTube to get the melody.  Who ever knew there were so many verses to “London Bridge”?  I made up sign language for every verse, which has been terribly fun.  My daughter bounces and claps whenever I start a song with a dance of the arms and hands.

Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #314, Theme: Pie

This is one of those prompts I just had fun with.


Pie in the Sky

Dreams of coconut and chocolate cream,
float and dance above my head.
Two right choices,
but I can only devour one.
So consumed am I from loving them both,
I take Coco and Cocoa,
and we flee to the land of Pi–
an uncharted pierritory–
where we can live in love as an unholy trinity,
made holy by changing the laws of the land.

Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #313, Theme: Evasive

I wrote a paper on medical emancipation last year for my Health Care Law class, and so evading aggressive, unnecessary treatment was the first thing that came to mind (well, besides taxes).  I don’t know how appropriate the title is, but I went with it, as sort of a play-on-words, even though this poem is of a serious nature.


Taxing Treatment Evasion

The best years of my life
will not be my last.
It is not that I want to die–
I just don’t want to live this way.
I have not given up,
but given in.

I will die with as much dignity
as those that pursue treatment
that only prolongs,
but cannot cure.

My days will be fewer,
but the hours longer,
for I will walk in the cool green grass
of the evening at twilight,
rather than the cold, hard tile
of the floor of the hospital.

I will sit in my hammock under the shade tree,
drinking sweet tea or lemonade,
smelling the barbecue I can no longer taste,
rather than the odd odors of the oncology wing.

I will look upon the faces of my children
under the light of the golden sun,
rather than under long bulbs of milky light.

I will sleep to the sounds of crickets and bullfrogs,
and music on the patio outside my window,
rather than to the hum of machines,
the clack-clacking of carts on wheels,
the soft laughter of nurses in cheerful scrubs.

I will not give up the ghost in a gown
of hospital issue,
but I will embrace the Light
in satin and lace.